Preparing Your Flock & Coop for WINTER

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by iwiw60, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. JackE

    JackE Overrun With Chickens

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    20 degrees is nothing to a chicken. No need to bother with insulation, because the birds already come with perfect insulation of their own, and don't need any help from us. And let them out of the coop. I've seen mine out and about in single degree temps, without a worry in the world. Check out the pic below. That's the front of my coop. The chickens have been in there, going on 5yrs, with no heat, no insulation, and no problem.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. YRuthie

    YRuthie New Egg

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    alright I've had my chickens since they were babies, so they're five and a half months old, their cochine and they refused to sleep inside the coop(if given the choice) they sleep on the roof. I live in a neighborhood so I let them stay there. but now it's gone really cold! 9 degrees at night. I've put them in at night then I said what the heck and I let them stay out.because when I put them in and lock the door they go into the outside part that is just chicken wire and sleep there. am I just a worry wart chicken mom or should I just let them do what they want?
     
  3. JackE

    JackE Overrun With Chickens

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    They can probably handle the temp. But if they were mine, I'd be worried about an owl swooping in at night for a late chicken dinner.
     
  4. islandgirl82

    islandgirl82 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can train them to use their coop by keeping them confined to the coop/run for several days to a week or more. Chickens don't like change and sometimes it takes a while for them to adjust.

    They may be able to handle the temps now but winter hasn't even begun and there are things like frostbite to consider.

    I agree with JackE on putting them in the coop. There are loads of predators that with make off with you flock regardless of where you live. Fox, raccoons, skunks, mink, hawks, owls, cats, dogs, etc. are only a few and they're far more common in developed areas than a lot of people realize.

    I would also be replacing the chicken wire with hardware cloth. Chicken wire is a joke...it'll keep your birds in for a while but it's thin and rusts easily so it's nothing for raccoons and such to tear right through it. Hardware cloth is more expensive initially but you won't have to be replacing it nearly as often so it'll save you money and heartache in the long run and unless you have a concrete base, I'd be closing your birds in the coop at night because certain predators won't have any trouble digging right underneath your coop and run and with their door left open, in my opinion it's just a matter of time before something gets in there.
     
  5. jtn42248

    jtn42248 Overrun With Chickens

    Your chickens are fine...I know it is had to believe but they really are. I have 22 hens and 1 rooster in a metal coop (uninsulated) and on a concrete slab. The last couple of days barely hit freezing here and were in the teens overnight. Today it is 35 and still frigid in the wind. However, my hens body heat keeps them comfy inside their coop. Yesterday when I went out to let them out it was 19 degrees outside and 42 inside. I opened the door to let them out if they wanted to and they almost ran me over getting out. And, they stayed out all day until I put them to bed at their regular time. Make spaces available to them. Make sure they don't have direct wind blowing on them. Ventilate (mind have a 18" x 5 foot window open on the east side and a 2 ft x 5 ft window open on the South side (our winds this time of year are primarily NW) and even so they heat up the interior just fine.
    So, just do the best you can. Eventually they will go out into the run area, especially if there are treats out there along with their feed and water.
     
  6. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Agreed. The poster @ReillyJ is needlessly worrying about something chickens have done for centuries. It isn't the cold that will harm your chickens...it's humid/damp and blowing cold air directly on them that will. Insulating a coop is not needed.
     
  7. minnehaha

    minnehaha Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 13, 2014
    Spokane, WA
    Here is my winter set-up, plus I need help with chicken math:

    I have an 8x16 insulated henhouse and a 8 X20 "A" frame run that I have completely tarped closed except for vents on the top of The "A" on either ends. I used several tarps in various colors so it is a bit ghetto, however: it is sunny but cold out and the run is very warm. The chickens are free ranging, but have access to the the hen house and run. My yard is 2 acres. It is fenced (6 feet tall) with another 2 feet buried below the ground. I am sure on blizzard days that tarped run is going to come in handy for stir crazy chickens.

    I'm using large heated pet bowls for water and for food. I don't want the chickens eating frozen food.

    I have 41 chickens and 3 ducks. I want to downsize very badly. How few chickens could I keep in my hen house and still have enough of them to keep each other warm?



    Here is the inside of my coop.

    auto pop door end:
    [​IMG]

    nesting box end, plus a door leading into storage are.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. JackE

    JackE Overrun With Chickens

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    North Eastern Md.
     
  9. minnehaha

    minnehaha Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 13, 2014
    Spokane, WA
    Hi JackE, thank you for responding. What do you mean by "open air coop"?

    I am very happy to know I can downsize without freezing them. I would like to get down to 15 hens, plus the rooster, no ducks. I was really torn between having fewer chickens which would mean more space when it is to nasty to go outside versus not enough chickens on the roost at bedtime keeping each other warm!

    I see your avatar coop, it is adorable! In another post awhile back I read the name of that type of building, and I think you posted it? My house is very similar, but on a very large scare (3 stories, 3500 square feet). What did you call that style of building?
     
  10. auntphibian

    auntphibian Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I cannot do anything about misinterpretation. I think everyone has to consider where they live, the breed of chicken, etc etc. But, I do know birds, in general and an 10 degree drop in temperature suddenly can cause problems with birds, including chickens. Its just something everyone has to consider when deciding to use heat and what temp they should keep it. You certainly would not want a 70 degree coop to have them got out into 20 degree weather. That's what I'm saying. EXTREME and drastic temp changes.

    My hope is that everyone does their own research for their situation and makes the best decision they know how. I struggle with heating here in Nashville. I have blocked all drafts but kept ventilation. Its' been really cold here the past couple nights, but the chickens seems not to care.
     

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